Beginner’s Guide to WooCommerce Inventory Management (2023)

Are you looking to improve the inventory management of your WooCommerce store? Managing stock effectively is a cornerstone of successful eCommerce, yet it remains one of the most challenging aspects for many store owners. 

Having a streamlined, efficient, and reliable inventory management system is like having a healthy heart; it keeps your business alive and kicking, reducing the chances of stockouts and overstocks, ensuring customer satisfaction, and ultimately driving growth.

Yet, without the proper tools and processes in place, inventory management can seem like an insurmountable task. Imagine trying to solve a giant jigsaw puzzle with thousands of unique pieces without a guide or a clear image of the completed puzzle. 

That’s what inventory management can feel like without the right tools – chaotic, frustrating, and time-consuming.

Thankfully, there’s a solution to this complex problem. By using WooCommerce inventory management tools like Jovvie, you can transform this daunting task into a manageable, streamlined process.

In this guide, we will delve into the world of WooCommerce inventory management, explore the importance of a well-implemented inventory system, outline key features you should look for in management tools, and demonstrate how using solutions can save you valuable time, reduce stock discrepancies, and enhance your store’s overall efficiency.

Introduction to WooCommerce inventory management

Effective inventory management is crucial for the success of any online store. It plays a vital role in ensuring customer satisfaction, cost control, cash flow management, avoiding understocking and overstocking, efficiency, forecasting and planning, and gaining a competitive advantage. 

To underline this point, consider this: inventory distortion, which includes overstock, stockouts, and shrinkage, amounted to a staggering global total of $1.8 trillion in 2020. 

That’s a figure too substantial to ignore, underscoring the vital importance of precise inventory management for any online store.

WooCommerce, the most popular eCommerce platform in the world, offers native functionality for managing inventory, stock levels, orders, and shipping. These features form the foundation for good inventory management. Let’s delve into the core components of inventory management within the WooCommerce platform. 

  • Products – items in your inventory, complete with their specifications, and unique demand patterns. Proper product categorization and SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) management are critical for easy tracking and inventory control.
  • Stock levels – Keeping too much stock can lead to overstock, waste, and tied-up capital, while too little can result in stockouts and lost sales. Here, accuracy in demand forecasting and inventory tracking is crucial.
  • Order fulfillment – To ensure efficiency, this requires real-time inventory updates, a streamlined picking and packing process, and reliable shipping methods. 

Sounds good? Now, let’s weigh the pros and cons of WooCommerce’s built-in inventory management.

Pros of built-in inventory management

  • Cost-effective: WooCommerce’s inventory management feature is free, making it a budget-friendly solution for small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Beginner-friendly: If you’re a small store owner or just starting your eCommerce journey, WooCommerce covers your basic inventory management needs.
  • Flexible stock management: WooCommerce allows you to manage stock per product or globally.
  • Seamless integration: If you’re already using WordPress, WooCommerce integrates effortlessly with your site.
  • Rich ecosystem: There’s a wide array of plugins and extensions to enhance inventory management functionality.

Cons of built-in inventory management

  • Limited built-in features: The built-in inventory management features may not meet advanced needs, requiring additional plugins.
  • Technical knowledge: While the platform is generally user-friendly, beginners without technical knowledge might find some aspects challenging.
  • Scalability: As your business grows, you might encounter scalability issues and need to seek more advanced solutions.

Consequently, to unlock more advanced capabilities, store owners can utilize various plugins and extensions.

Let’s take a look at how you can optimize and streamline inventory management for your online store, and ensure your business is set for success.

Setting up and updating inventory in WooCommerce

The key to efficiently utilizing WooCommerce plugins is understanding the steps involved in setting up and updating your inventory within WooCommerce. Once you’re well-acquainted with these processes, managing your eCommerce store’s inventory will become a more streamlined, intuitive task, leaving you more time to focus on growing your business. 

Here’s a detailed, step-by-step guide on setting up inventory management using WooCommerce’s built-in functionality. 

From establishing initial product stock levels to updating your inventory data, the goal is to help you take the reins of your WooCommerce inventory management. Let’s dive in!

Configuring stock management settings

Setting up WooCommerce’s built-in inventory management begins with configuring your stock management settings. This foundational step helps automate various aspects of stock control, making your job significantly easier. 

Let’s delve into the process:

  • Enable stock management: First things first, you need to activate the stock management feature. Navigate your way to WooCommerce > Settings > Products > Inventory. Here, you’ll find a box labeled Enable stock management. If you want WooCommerce to automate stock management, check this box. With this enabled, WooCommerce will automatically subtract from your total stock every time a sale is made. If you prefer manual control, leave the box unchecked.
Enable stock management in WooCommerce.
  • Set hold stock time: Just below, you’ll find a text box for the Hold stock time. This setting defines how long a product is reserved in a customer’s cart before being released back into your inventory. This function is particularly useful for high-demand products likely to sell out rapidly, like concert tickets. Simply enter the desired hold time (in minutes).
Add hold stock time in WooCommerce.
  • Enable notifications: Moving on, you’ll find options for notifications. If you want to be notified when your stock falls below a certain point or runs out, check the appropriate boxes. 
Enable low-stock and out-of-stock notifications in WooCommerce.

Further down the page, you can set your low-stock and out-of-stock thresholds. This way, you’ll never be caught off guard by diminishing stock levels.

  • Manage out-of-stock visibility: There’s also an option to hide out-of-stock items from your storefront. If you prefer this, check the Out of stock visibility box.
  • Choose stock display format: The Stock display format dropdown menu lets you decide how you present stock levels to customers. You have three options: Always show stock to constantly display stock levels, Only show stock when low to alert customers of limited quantities, or Never show stock to keep stock levels hidden. 

And there you have it! With these steps, you’ve set up your WooCommerce inventory management settings, paving the way for effective and efficient stock control. Up next, we’ll discuss how to add products and manage individual stock levels.

Managing stock for individual products

Once you’ve set up your overall stock management settings, the next step is to manage stock for individual products. This process lets you track the inventory of each product separately, ensuring precise control over your stock levels. Here’s how to do it:

  • Navigate to all products: From your dashboard, go to Products > All Products.
  • Edit the product: Browse your product list and click Edit on the product you want to manage.
WooCommerce product edit settings.
  • Access inventory settings: Scroll down to the product data box and select the Inventory tab.
  • Enable stock management: If you want to track the stock quantity for this specific product, check the box labeled Track stock quantity for this product
Enable stock quantity tracking for a product in WooCommerce.
  • Enter SKU number: In the SKU field, input the unique number assigned to your product. The SKU, or Stock Keeping Unit, is a crucial element in inventory management that helps you efficiently track your inventory.
  • Enter stock quantity: In the Stock quantity field, enter the number of items currently in your inventory for this product. Once done, WooCommerce will auto-manage this stock, deducting from the total every time a sale is made.
  • Set backorder preferences: Choose your preference for backorders in the Allow backorders? dropdown. This determines whether customers can order this product when it’s out of stock.
Enabling/disabling backorders when a product is out of stock in WooCommerce.
  • Set low stock threshold: Enter your preferred Low stock threshold. You’ll receive a notification when the product’s stock reaches this level, giving you ample time to restock.
  • Limit quantity per order: If you want to limit the product to one per order, tick the Sold Individually box. This is useful for exclusive or limited-quantity items.
Set a limit on the number of products that can be purchased in a single instance in WooCommerce.
  • Remember to click Update or Publish to save your changes. 

Repeat this process for all the items in your inventory. By following these steps, you can effectively manage the stock levels of individual products, ensuring your inventory aligns with customer demand.

Managing stock for bulk products

In some cases, you might want to update the stock status for multiple products at once. WooCommerce facilitates this through a bulk editing feature. Here’s how to do it:

  • Navigate to Products > All Products.
  • Select Edit from the bulk actions dropdown.
  • Check the boxes next to all the products you want to edit, then click Apply.
Edit multiple products in bulk in WooCommerce.
  • Scroll down to the Manage stock? dropdown and set it to yes to enable individual stock management for the selected products.
Change stock management settings for multiple products in WooCommerce.
  • In the Stock qty dropdown, you have the option to change the stock quantity in bulk. You can either change the stock levels to a specific number or increase/decrease the stock by a certain amount.
Change the stock quantity in bulk in WooCommerce.

For example, if you received a shipment of 100 new units per product, you could increase the total quantity by 100.

By efficiently managing your stock status, you can ensure your customers are well-informed about product availability, leading to better customer satisfaction and reduced shopping cart abandonment. As your business grows, you can leverage these functionalities to ensure that your inventory management process remains seamless and effective.

Global stock status management

To set stock status settings globally, follow these steps:

  • Navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > Product > Inventory. Here, you can set the low and out-of-stock thresholds, which will apply to all your products.
  • Choose whether out-of-stock items should appear in the store. If you prefer to hide such items, tick the relevant box.
  • Select the stock display format. This determines how your stock levels are presented to your customers, globally affecting all products in your store.

Updating inventory levels

While WooCommerce does an excellent job of auto-deducting sold stock, keeping your inventory levels accurate still requires periodic manual updates. 

For instance, when you receive a new delivery, you’ll need to add this new stock to your product’s total. This maintains the accuracy of your inventory data and helps prevent stock-outs or overstocking. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on updating inventory levels in WooCommerce:

  • Check Manage stock settings: First, ensure that the Manage stock option has been enabled. If you’re unsure, navigate to WooCommerce > Settings > Products > Inventory. If the Enable stock management checkbox is ticked, you’re ready to update your stock.
  • Go to products: From your dashboard, navigate to the Products section. Here, you’ll find a list of all your products.
  • Edit the product: Click Edit on the product for which you need to update the stock levels.
  • Check Stock Management box: Before you can update the stock number, you must ensure that the Stock management box has been checked on the product page. If not, tick this box to enable stock management for this specific product.
  • Enter stock number: Once the Stock management box is checked, a field will appear for entering the stock number. Add your updated stock level here, considering any new shipments or stock adjustments.
Add the stock quantity for a product in WooCommerce.
  • Update regularly: After entering the new stock number, remember to click Update or Publish to save your changes. It’s crucial to update these numbers regularly, particularly after receiving a shipment, conducting a physical inventory count, or making any major changes to your stock levels.

These steps can help you keep your WooCommerce inventory levels accurate and up-to-date to enhance your store’s operational efficiency, minimize stock discrepancies, and ensure a seamless shopping experience for your customers.

Checking stock status reports

Regularly reviewing your stock status reports is essential for effective inventory management. These reports give you insights into your inventory health, including how much stock you have left, which items are running low, and which ones are out of stock. 

Here’s how to access and interpret these valuable reports in WooCommerce:

  • Navigate to stock status reports: From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Analytics > Stock. This action will present a comprehensive list of your products and their variations.
Check stock status reports in WooCommerce.
  • Review stock details: Along with each product, you’ll find crucial details like SKU, stock status, and stock quantity. These metrics provide an at-a-glance view of your inventory, facilitating swift decision-making.
  • Organize stock data: If you want to view your stock data in a specific order, you can click on the value you want to organize by, whether SKU, stock status, or stock quantity.
  • Filter products: Use the Show dropdown to display specific products based on their stock status. This feature allows you to filter and only show out-of-stock, low-stock, in-stock, or on-backorder products.
  • View detailed product report: Click on a specific product for an in-depth report. This detailed view provides valuable insights like items sold, net sales, and the number of orders for that particular product. You can modify the date range to analyze the product’s performance over a specific period.
View a detailed performance report for an individual product in WooCommerce.
  • Compare products: Use the Show option in the detailed report to bring other products into the report for comparison. This feature allows you to contrast the performance of different items, helping you identify best-selling products and those that might need promotional support.
Compare product performance in WooCommerce.

You can regularly check your stock status reports to stay ahead of inventory issues, make data-driven decisions, and ensure a smooth and satisfying shopping experience for your customers.

Managing stock for different product types

WooCommerce offers a variety of product types, each with unique features and capabilities. Understanding how to manage stock for each product type is crucial to maintain accurate inventory levels and provide a seamless shopping experience. 

Here’s how inventory is managed for each of the four default product types in WooCommerce: Simple, Grouped, Variable, and External/Affiliate products.

Select a product type in WooCommerce.

Simple products

Simple products are individual, standalone items that can either be physical or digital. Managing inventory for Simple products is straightforward:

  • Click Edit on a specific product.
  • In the Product data drop-down, select Simple Product.
  • You can manage inventory by entering the stock quantity and enabling stock management at the product level.

Grouped products

Grouped products consist of related simple products that can be purchased individually. Here’s how you manage inventory for grouped products:

  • Choose Grouped Product in the Product data drop-down when editing a product.
  • Inventory for grouped products is managed at the individual simple product level within the group, not at the grouped product level. Hence, each simple product in the group will have its own SKU and inventory settings.

Variable products

Variable products are more complex as they are single products with variations. Each variation can have a different SKU, price, stock option, and more. 

Here’s how to manage inventory for variable products:

  • Select Variable Product in the Product data drop-down when editing a product.
  • For each variation, you can set an individual SKU, price, and stock status. This allows you to manage inventory for each variation independently, providing a flexible and robust inventory management approach.

External/Affiliate products

External or Affiliate products are items that you list and describe on your website but are sold elsewhere. As such, inventory management for these products is usually not required in WooCommerce.

Top inventory management plugins for WooCommerce

1. Jovvie

One plugin that has gained recognition for its seamless integration and comprehensive suite of features is Jovvie

Jovvie Point of Sale inventory management system.

This plugin equips store owners with the ability to manage every facet of their online stores – from sales and orders to inventory – through an in-store Point of Sale (POS) front-end management system.

Key inventory management features

  • Dynamic live inventory: The standout feature of Jovvie is its dynamic live inventory synchronization, which ensures real-time consistency between your WooCommerce store’s inventory and your physical store. Jovvie checks with WooCommerce at various key stages to ensure that an item won’t be oversold by customers shopping simultaneously in person and online.
  • Barcode scanning: With Jovvie, you can leverage the power of technology to streamline your inventory management. Using a tablet or mobile device, you can scan barcodes to update inventory levels automatically, eliminating manual errors and saving precious time.
  • Support for complex products: Jovvie supports a wide array of product types, including product add-ons and customizable products. This feature gives you the flexibility to manage your inventory irrespective of the complexity or uniqueness of your product offerings.

If you’re managing both a physical and an online WooCommerce store, Jovvie is an absolute must-have solution. Its ability to bridge the gap between online and in-person shopping through real-time inventory synchronization offers a unified shopping experience for your customers and a consolidated management system for you.


Jovvie is competitively priced at $39 per month, providing a high-value solution for businesses seeking to optimize their inventory management process.

Jovvie stands as a robust and user-friendly WooCommerce plugin that brings efficiency and precision to your inventory management. It’s a worthy investment for WooCommerce store owners, especially those operating in an omnichannel retail environment.

2. Katana

Katana is another renowned plugin in the realm of WooCommerce inventory management.

Katana WooCommerce inventory management plugin.

This end-to-end inventory management solution can synchronize seamlessly with your WooCommerce store(s), providing a comprehensive and integrated approach to handling your stock.

Key inventory management features

  • Katana supports barcode inventory management, enabling you to track your stock levels with ease and accuracy, reducing the possibility of human error, and streamlining your stocktaking processes.
  • With Katana, you can always keep your finger on the pulse of your inventory status. It provides an overview of live stock levels, ensuring you have real-time insights into your available stock, sold items, and products that need replenishing.
  • The plugin allows you to set automatic reorder points for each product. When a product’s stock level falls below the set point, the system automatically generates a purchase order, ensuring you never run out of best-selling items.
  • Katana excels in providing insights not just into stock levels but also into your product costs. It can calculate the manufacturing cost for each product, helping you accurately price your products and maintain a healthy profit margin.


Katana’s pricing starts from $99 per month, making it a viable investment for businesses that require an advanced and integrated inventory management solution.

3. Veeqo

Veeqo’s standout feature is its capacity to track inventory across multiple sales channels, marketplaces, and warehouse locations, making it a powerful tool for those managing large online stores across diverse platforms.

Veeqo inventory management and order fulfillment plugin.

Key inventory management features

  • Veeqo can synchronize inventory across multiple channels. This means your stock levels are always up-to-date, whether you sell on your WooCommerce store or on other marketplaces.
  • To enhance warehouse efficiency, Veeqo offers a free mobile picking app. This simplifies the process of locating and picking items in your warehouse, leading to faster order fulfillment and improved customer satisfaction.
  • The plugin provides you with a set of powerful analytics and forecasting tools. With these insights, you can make more informed decisions about your inventory, helping you avoid overstocking or understocking situations.
  • In addition to inventory management, Veeqo also offers a suite of shipping tools. This allows you to handle inventory and shipping all in one place, simplifying your workflow and increasing productivity.
  • The ability to integrate with other eCommerce platforms like eBay, Shopify, and Amazon makes Veeqo a versatile solution for managing inventory across multiple channels. It ensures that your inventory data remains consistent and accurate across all platforms.


Veeqo is completely free, which makes it a highly attractive solution for store owners who want powerful inventory management capabilities without a substantial financial investment.


ATUM is a robust inventory management plugin designed to enhance WooCommerce’s native inventory functionality. 

ATUM WooCommerce inventory management and stock tracking.

It offers an array of features via a user-friendly dashboard, allowing you to efficiently control and monitor various aspects of your stock.

Key inventory management features

  • ATUM’s customizable dashboard gives you a comprehensive overview of your stock situation at a glance, offering insights into your inventory’s status and behavior. 
  • It offers a user-friendly interface that allows you to quickly edit essential aspects of your inventory. This includes suppliers, SKUs, locations, weight, and prices. This streamlined process enhances your control over your stock management.
  • In addition to basic stock tracking features, ATUM also provides advanced options to help you monitor your inventory with increased precision. 
  • The plugin provides weekly and fortnightly sales and lost sales indicators, which can be a crucial tool for forecasting and inventory replenishment planning. 
  • It also includes an inventory level indicator that gives you a clear view of your stock situation.


ATUM is completely free, making it a good, budget-friendly option for businesses of all sizes that want to benefit from enhanced inventory management.

5. WooCommerce Attribute Stock

WooCommerce Attribute Stock is a dynamic inventory management plugin designed to handle stock based on global product attributes. 

WooCommerce Attribute Stock.

This is especially beneficial if your store contains a variety of custom products, as it allows you to manage stock levels flexibly and efficiently.

Key inventory management features

  • WooCommerce Attribute Stock can create and control stock based on product characteristics such as size, color, style, or any other custom attribute, offering a highly personalized approach to inventory management.
  • You can set limits on your product stock. This gives you greater control over your inventory, helping you to manage supply and demand more effectively.
  • This feature allows you to designate the amount of stock reduced per purchase, even allowing for decimal values. This functionality brings an extra level of precision to your stock management.
  • The plugin includes an easy-to-use admin page for effortless management of attribute stock items.
  • Keep track of your stock performance with the help of stock reports, providing you with valuable insights to enhance your inventory strategy.


WooCommerce Attribute Stock is priced from $39 a month. The package comes with a live demo, allowing you to take it for a test drive before committing. This allows you to see firsthand how the plugin could benefit your store, making the decision process much easier.

Optimize WooCommerce inventory management with Jovvie

Effective inventory management is the backbone of a successful eCommerce business. From setting up your WooCommerce inventory, tracking product levels, and adjusting stock statuses, to understanding your stock reports, each element contributes to a smooth, efficient, and profitable operation. 

Managing different product types, coupled with the use of robust inventory management plugins, can further streamline your workflow, enhance your stock control, and reduce the likelihood of overselling or stockouts. 

With the right tools at your disposal, you can turn inventory management from a complex chore into a seamless part of your business.

In particular, Jovvie, with its live inventory synchronization feature and ability to manage complex products, makes it an indispensable tool for those running both physical and WooCommerce stores. Its intuitive interface and comprehensive features provide a seamless bridge between your online and offline inventory, ensuring your stock levels are always accurate and up-to-date.

Ready to optimize your WooCommerce inventory management?

Start by taking Jovvie for a spin and experience firsthand how this powerful plugin can revolutionize the way you manage your WooCommerce and physical store’s inventory!

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